This n That

The Orlando Sentinel School Zone blog has a few interesting items up recently. Apparently, to raise money in lean budget times some school systems are looking into letting businesses advertise in the schools. PETA made an offer to Volusia County.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say it has sent a letter to Superintendent Margaret Smith offering to place ads in all of the county’s middle and high school science classrooms advocating an end to dissecting animals in class.

The School Zone blog also notes that end of course exams are being taken out for a spin in algebra.

The Grade 9 FCAT-2 Mathematics exam (told you it was clunky) will test mostly knowledge of algebra, and, if the Florida Legislature agrees, it could become the state’s algebra end-of-course exam — and passing it could, eventually, become a new graduation requirement, according to a memo Education Commissioner Eric Smith sent to district school superintendents last week.

Florida State University professor Harold Kroto’s GEOSET project is a collection of short, engaging videos to teach science. The St. Petersburg Times is calling it ‘Mr Wizard’ for the Internet age.

Kroto’s goal is to harness the Internet and modern technology to revolutionize the way schoolchildren learn science, math and technology.

The head of Freedom High School’s science department in New Tampa was cited for animal cruelty after some gerbils were found dead.

School district officials say they found no evidence Barthel intentionally let the gerbils die, and also say she has never been disciplined for misconduct in her years with the district.

Still, representatives for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say the deaths are a clear case of animal cruelty and are calling on the district to ban the use of all animals in classrooms.

This new shark movie at Orlando Science Center is no ‘Jaws’.

“We’re trying to let them see that sharks aren’t largely mindless killers,” he says. “They’re an incredibly important component of the oceans. We need them to be there to have a healthy ocean.”

Osceola adds “Missions Labs” to all its elementary schools to improve science lessons.

“The goal was to give the students a hands-on experience and get them really excited about the whole idea of really doing science,” said Sharon Kelley, a curriculum supervisor who works with math and science. “The real goal is the excitement, the exploration, the discovery aspect of science.”

“When Louisiana officials recently passed a new law governing the classroom materials that can be used to cover evolution lessons, some predicted that controversy—and possibly lawsuits—would follow. Now a committee of the state board of education has signed off on new rules that seek to clarify how complaints and challenges stemming from the law will be handled in school districts. Whether those rules clarify things, or merely roil the waters on the bayou, remains to be seen.” Curriculum Matters blog.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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